Breakdown of your role:
During your 12 weeks with us, your job will be to:
EDUCATE readers: We don’t just want to cover what’s going wrong.
ENGAGE: High quality, buzzworthy, easy-to-follow content.
DRIVE TRAFFIC: Keep visitors coming back and get them excited about reducing global poverty!
You have been sent a link to your personal Tracker document, which contains your weekly assignments and expectations.
Begin working on Week 1 assignments today. We recommend that you look through the tasks and plan your weeks accordingly. Some weeks are more time-intensive than others.
The week’s tasks are to be completed by 11 PM PT (U.S. based and team members abroad) and 5 PM GMT (UK based) each Friday.
This is a ‘live’ document, so your manager will be aware of your progress.
Each week, work through the tasks, marking them as done as you complete them and adding any notes requested.
Role Expectations: We don’t require you to keep track of hours, but you are expected to meet the weekly requirements in order to complete your role. Not completing the weekly assignments is the equivalent of not showing up to work.
- Create high-quality articles during the course of your time with us. If the articles are rushed, poorly researched and/or too short, then our editors will not publish them.
- Complete a personal fundraising campaign.
- Meet weekly requirements.
- Contact your congressional offices/local MP each week in support of poverty-reduction legislation.
- Weekly tasks completed.
The Writer’s Guide Book and Choosing Original Article Topics
– Read and watch these thoroughly. They contain everything you need to create great posts and wow your editors. With telecommuting roles, we can’t train you in person, so it’s important to read the directions closely. The Writers’ Guide Book and training videos are your key to success here! Email your completed articles to: [email protected].
Weeks 1 & 2: You will start out by covering one SEO topic on the tab “Practice Articles” of News Team & Assignment Desk document. Pick your topic and add your name in the author column.
You will receive direct feedback about your practice article, which you will need to work with and resubmit your practice article in week 3, before moving forward with new articles.
When you are ready to submit your article, embed your completed article into individual emails. Be sure to include the title, key term and sources in your email.
Week 4 Onwards: Before writing, you’ll need to get your article topics approved. Put your topic ideas into the “(Current Month’s) Articles” tab as early as possible. Once approved, you can begin researching and writing.
You need to write within the two categories you chose when you were hired, however if you are ever compelled by a topic not within your categories, you are welcome to deviate for that article. Please just ensure your add your topic to the News Team & Assignment Desk document for your article to be approved, BEFORE you start writing. Check out the Links and Categories tab for further information on your categories.
NOTE: Thick skin is required. Since the beginning of the written word, Writers have been annoyed with Editors… And likewise, Editors get annoyed when they see the same mistakes over and over (mistakes that could have been avoided by reading the Writers’ Guide Book in more detail). By nature of the editing process, your articles are going to be corrected more often than they will be praised. To be sure, you won’t agree with every edit… Sometimes they even miss-edit and add mistakes… So annoying. We get it. In many newsrooms, the nature of the roles can create lots of friction. We are a drama-free newsroom. If you see an error in one of your published articles, please notify [email protected].
Things to Know
Team Manager: Carrie Gilmour (South Africa based)
1. Pick a Weekly Schedule: Telecommuting offers tremendous freedom, however without a set schedule, it will be very difficult to complete this role successfully. It becomes very easy to wait until the end of the week and find yourself speed typing poor-quality articles or missing weekly targets. Either scenario can result in losing your role with us.
2. News Team & Assignment Desk: This document covers who’s writing what, topics for articles, key research links and it contains lots of helpful info.
- News Team: Everyone involved with the News Team and their roles.
- (Current Month’s)Articles: List the articles you are working on under this tab. Double-check that no one else is already covering the topic.
- Practice Articles: Please help yourself to any articles that haven’t been taken in week 2. Enter your name in the “Selected by” column.
- Links & Categories: This is hugely helpful for finding good sites to monitor for story ideas. Make sure you read the Magazine categories carefully! It’s very important that writers covering a magazine category find articles that fit the criteria.
3. Congressional & Parliamentary Outreach: Everyone volunteering for The Borgen Project participates in basic advocacy and contacts their Leaders weekly. Congressional and Parliamentary offices tally how many times they are contacted about each issue, so your emails and calls matter!
4. Fundraising: Our funding levels determine our impact. It’s that simple! Like sending advocacy emails to your leaders, everyone who is part of the team steps up and participates in fundraising. Bookmark the fundraising ideas page and start planning your campaign. The Weekly Tracker will guide you through friends and family letters, but to reach the $500/£400 criteria you’ll want to develop your own strategies as well.
5. Training: We hold a variety of training sessions to help you meet all of your goals. Details of the dates and times can be found in our weekly newsletter which will be emailed to you.
6. Award Ops: With team members spread across the globe, our approach to awards is fairly low key. However, achieving these milestones look great on your resume/CV and we love verifying your impact when future employers do background checks.
7. Stay informed with The Borgen Project State of the Union. The organization’s monthly updates are published on this page. Every month we highlight the achievements of Borgen Project high achievers across the country and globally. If you go above and beyond the call of duty in your fundraising, lobbying or mobilizing efforts, you too, may be featured!
Can I fast forward ahead on the weekly tasks? Yes. As you finish the current week’s assignments, you are more than welcome to skip ahead.
Can I miss a week? If needed, you may take one week off during the course of your time with us. Notify your supervisor beforehand. Missing a week pauses where you are on the weekly tasks, so simply pickup where you left off.
Difference Between our Journalists and Writers: Interviews. Journalists write in-depth articles and interview people for their stories. We don’t specify which type of writing you need to undertake during your time with us, this is your choice and your chance to explore your writing style. We would, however, encourage everyone to try at least one journalist piece during their time with us.
Journalistic articles are based on original investigative reporting of some sort. This reporting could include:
- Interviews – Know someone who is involved in the fight against poverty? Ask to schedule an interview or, if that’s not possible, try emailing them a list of questions. Skype and Zoom interviews work great as well!
- Events – Is there a human rights rally in your city? Is an NGO holding a fundraiser? Go out to the event and write an article about it!
- Travel – Are you traveling to a region with extreme poverty? Do you have contacts there from previous travel? Writing a first-hand report on the people and conditions in a developing nation would make for a great article.
- Political – Is your representative/MP back in your district/constituency? Do you happen to live in Washington D.C. or London? Try visiting your political leaders and writing an article about it. Check with your manager for more instructions before you try this one.
Requirements for a Journalistic Article:
- 600 words minimum
- Draws on your own original reporting
- Cites reputable sources to put the article in context (for example, if you were writing about a UNICEF event, you will need a couple of credible sources to explain more about UNICEF and their work)
7 Tips for Landing an Interview
- Present yourself professionally. Please drop the word “intern” from your title. Yes, you are in an internship program BUT when you are reaching out to potential interview subjects please refer to yourself as a journalist or writer for The Borgen Project because that’s exactly who you are. This should also be in your email signature as well.
- Give a quick intro about The Borgen Project. Let them know The Borgen Project is an advocacy organization fighting global poverty and that we have hundreds of thousands of visitors to borgenproject.org each month. In addition, between January and October 2021, more than 10 million people visited borgenproject.org — this lets them know that an interview with you will be excellent exposure for them.
- Give an example of a Borgen Project story that will be similar to the one you want to write. For instance, if you are interviewing the founder of a nonprofit, you could send them this post – https://www.borgenmagazine.com/tackling-tb-in-kenya/
- Give them options in terms of the format. “I would be happy to conduct this interview via email or whichever format is most convenient for you e.g. over the phone or via Skype.”
- Follow up within 2-3 business days. Sometimes people simply miss your first note or they haven’t had the chance to respond as yet. It doesn’t hurt to send them a quick note e.g. “Dear ____, I hope all is well. Just wanted to follow up to see if you had a chance to review my email requesting an interview about your work in Kenya. I look forward to hearing from you.”
- Send your interview questions after you receive a favorable response. For email interviews, try to get your questions over to your interview subject within 1 business day.
- Create and send an interview transcript with your article submission. Click here to view the transcript provided for the TB article linked above.
A Final Note: We know that conducting interviews might be new and scary. But we promise it is also enriching and exciting once you implement these tips.